Prep football: First-year head coach charged with rebuilding Green Wave

Twenty five years ago, Scott Oliver coached the Glyndon-Felton Buffaloes to a Minnesota Class C football state championship in his first year as a teacher and coach.

Twenty five years ago, Scott Oliver coached the Glyndon-Felton Buffaloes to a Minnesota Class C football state championship in his first year as a teacher and coach.

In a way, Oliver's coaching career, which also includes a state boys hockey championship at Roseau, has come full circle.

Oliver, in his first season as head coach at East Grand Forks Senior High, will return to Glyndon tonight to take on Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at 7 p.m. in the season opener for both teams.

No one's asking Oliver for another state championship this season, but the former Canadian Football League player is responsible for trying to turn around a program that boasts just four wins in three years.

"We have a group of 20 seniors that want to be a part -- to leave their mark -- as the team that started Green Wave football back on the right track of being a respectful, competitive program," Oliver said.


Oliver, a successful boys hockey coach at Roseau from 2003-09, inquired about the position at Senior High to be closer to his wife, who lives in Crookston.

He inherits a program that went 0-9 in 2007, 2-7 in 2008 and 2-7 again in 2009.

The Green Wave haven't had a winning season since 2004, when Senior High went 14-0 and won the Class AAA state title behind the big-play offense of quarterback Nick Mertens, wide receivers Nate Rambeck and Casey Solem and running back Chad Larson.

So Oliver's first order of business as Green Wave head coach? Recreate some of that 2004 magic.

Oliver made calls to Roger Hanson and Mike Mahar to encourage the former offensive and defensive coordinators to return to Senior High after not coaching the past few seasons. Both agreed to rejoin the Wave.

"You have to surround yourself with good people," Oliver said. "That's the start of making good things happen."

Oliver's second order of business was to develop an offseason workout program.

"We got summer weights going with 25-30 guys lifting all summer long," Oliver said. "Once the staff was in place, we had to get a commitment to the offseason workouts. I feel like those are two significant changes."


With a throwback staff in place, the Wave will revert to the offense that saw so much success in 2004. Senior High had implemented an option offense last season.

But the Green Wave will go back to a shotgun look featuring multiple formations.

"We'll be diverse with the run and pass," Oliver said.

Defensively, Senior High will utilize a 4-3 (four down linemen, three linebackers) set.

Although Senior High has re-installed some of the old coaching staff and offensive schemes, the Wave will be relying on a large number of new faces.

Senior High graduated its top offensive threats in quarterback Darrin Hager and wide receiver Luke Misialek.

Oliver said the Wave will start the year with dual quarterbacks -- Frankie Vargas and Gage Ausmus. Vargas, a senior, played running back last season, while Ausmus is an up-and-coming sophomore.

Senior High also plans to open the season with a by-committee approach at running back. Oliver expects Tanner Dahlen, Ryan Osowski and Josh Moser to each get carries against D-G-F.



Senior High

Coach: Scott Oliver.

2009 record: 2-7.

Key returners: Sr. WR-DB Jordan Osmundson (3 catches, 26 yards); sr. RB-LB Josh Moser; sr. RB-DB Ryan Osowski; sr. QB-LB Frankie Vargas (65 carries, 227 yards); sr. RB-LB Tanner Dahlen (all-conference); sr. WR-DB Alex Robertson; sr. OL-LB Blake Christiansen; sr. OL-DL Tom Driscoll; sr. OL-DL Beau Scheving; sr. OL-DL Tre Sorenson; sr. WR-P-K Kyle Swanson.

Top newcomer: Soph. QB-DB Gage Ausmus.

Coach Oliver says: "We have 20 seniors that are very committed right now to be a better football team and program. They're keen and eager to work hard. They've had as good of an attitude as anywhere I've been. The strength of this team will be our willingness to compete and play hard."

Sacred Heart


Coach: Tim Everett.

2009 record: 3-5.

Key returners: Sr. RB Christian Pagnac-Jundt (160 carries, 1,450 yards); sr. TE Brett MacLeod (6 catches, 114 yards); sr. TE Jake Cariveau; sr. OL Austin LeTexier; jr. RB Corey Roach.

Top newcomers: Jr. TE-LB John Melin; soph. QB-DB Michael Pietruszewski; soph. OL-DL Zach Huot; soph. RB-DB Alex Yanish.

Coach Everett says: "We don't have a lot of numbers. There's not a lot of depth, but there's lots of talent. If we stay healthy, we should have a good year. Christian Pagnac-Jundt will carry the load and Corey (Roach) is a good power back. Michael Pietruszewski is probably the fastest guy on team. He's more of a running quarterback, but he has the arm to throw it, too."

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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